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Amy Sennesh Vastola wonders: <<I am a tech writer returning to IT
after a hiatus doing other things. Will probably work on a contract
basis at least to get started again. I am wondering if a Windows
system is necessary for contracting. The Adobe TW suite only runs on
Windows, but my comp. sci. major son is urging me to get an Apple or
run Linux on a Dell...>>
Windows is still where it's at for most help development, and for
most Frame shops, but you can do most other kinds of work on other
computers. For example, most apps in Adobe's Creative Suite are
pretty good at the cross-platform thing. In my experience, life is
easier when you're using the same application, operating system, and
version as your client, because it eliminates a slew of potential
problems. But that's not absolutely necessary if you're an
experienced troubleshooter or simply good at gritting your teeth and
ignoring occasional awkwardness until someone on techwr-l can help
you solve the problem.
Best bet for a laptop in your case is definitely a Mac. Prices are
now broadly similar to a PC of comparable quality (no, really!),
Consumer Reports and PC Mag rate satisfaction and reliability as
higher than for most PC manufacturers, some recent benchmarks show
the Mac laptops being as fast as or faster than most PC laptops with
equivalent specs, and you'll have the advantage of being able to run
OS X, Windows, and Linux* on a single computer. Work in whichever OS
you need for a given job.
* Plus, I'm told by an expert that NeoOffice (the Mac-interface
version of OpenOffice) is finally a decent production tool on the
Mac. Still looking for time to try it out.
fwiw, I'm pretty much fully bilingual (Mac/Windows), but I prefer the
Mac laptops. They simply fit my personal taste better. Since ymmv,
try 'em out to be sure you like the keyboard and screen, which are
responsible for about half of the user experience. This spring, when
it's time to upgrade, I'll be picking one of the MacBook Pro models
so I can also run Windows.
-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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